It sounds cliche, but I have always believed in finding and pursuing your passion. I remember a conversation with a good friend in college — we were sitting in my dorm room late one evening — probably eating popcorn — and discussing what we wanted the rest of our lives to look like. At that point, I was extremely passionate and excited about becoming an educator. I watched Boston Public on TV and I was sure that I could be an amazing yearbook advisor who impacted students just as my yearbook advisor had impacted me. My friend wasn’t as sure of her life goals at that point — she was obtaining her degree — but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with it or where it would take her. It’s funny, because she and I are still having this same conversation, 20 years later, as we are still chasing our evolving passions and pursuing our dreams…
I could have never predicted the way that my career would progress. Honestly, when I was in college, I thought I would find a teaching job and stay there forever. I’d earn tenure, advise the yearbook, and live happily ever after… But then I met Mike and his career didn’t align with my hometown high school teaching dreams. And then I had three kids in rapid succession — and paying for childcare for a 1 year old and infant twins full-time is not for the faint of heart.
It was also more important to me than I ever dreamed it would be (before my trio was born) to be home with them. To be able to embrace as many moments and memories as I could with them — while still pursuing a career. And while I wouldn’t go back and change it — and I’m so grateful that there are so many online options that make this possible — dang it is hard to work from home and parent full-time!
I have a love/hate relationship with working from home. I’ve been working from home since I became pregnant with Anna and Clara in 2009 – with some part-time in-person teaching at the local community college when they were younger. Since 2013, I’ve worked from home full-time. Many of the struggles that my friends are having with balancing working from home with their kiddos and the concept of work/life balance during COVID, I’ve been juggling for years. But that definitely doesn’t make it easier! I will admit that there are moments when I’m so glad I’m no longer alone in so many of my feelings and struggles of working full-time from home…
In early 2020, I made the leap to agency owner and running my travel business full-time, and pulled back from my roles in education. Then COVID hit, so I increased my work as a higher education content strategist to be able to continue to live the lifestyle we are used to and support the business during a very challenging year. However, I’ve also toyed with the idea of obtaining another full-time job — either working from home or outside the home… randomly applying to jobs that seemed intriguing or interesting.
In October, I received an offer for a teaching position. It was a full-time, work-from-home position. When Mike arrived home that day, the two of us discussed the position and what it would mean for our family and for my business. The position was an 8 to 5 work day, which would greatly impact my flexibility with the trio and with the agency. If there is one thing I do love about working from home, it is definitely the flexibility. Being able to be here to send the trio off to school, be here when they get home, throw dinner in the crockpot midday, and run to school in an instant has greatly impacted my career path over the years. Even though I work A LOT, I am also always available and have the flexibility to drop everything and be there for my kids. That, in and of itself, is priceless.
There is also the flexibility for self-care (which admittedly I need more of… but….) Just this morning I was able to go for a walk and have breakfast with my friend Jen – and while I’ll pay for those two hours by working later today or early tomorrow morning, the ability to add in those bits of socialization and self-care save me, especially in the winter!
There was also the very real concern of how it would impact my growing agency and my ability to connect with my agents. Being tied to two weeks of vacation just doesn’t work and I need to be available as much as possible for my agents – for daily questions and discussions, but also for training trips.
As Mike and I discussed all of the pros and cons of the new position, he eventually looked at me and said, “Don’t take it. This isn’t what you want to do. We will figure it out.” And he’s right, we always do. So ultimately, I decided to not accept the position (and to stop applying for random jobs!), even though the thought of a regular and consistent salary again was so appealing!
While being a travel agent and owning my own agency was never in my life plan, it has become my life’s passion. And while I definitely was a very passionate educator (especially when I was teaching high school), the classroom — online or traditional – isn’t where I’m meant to be right now (part of that is really hard for me…, but that’s a different post for a different day!). When I think about what I truly want to do, I want to own a phenomenal travel agency. I want to have a group of agents that I work with every day that love travel as much as I do and are passionate about it (they are!). I want to work with my agents to train them and help them grow their businesses. I want to travel as much as I possibly can – with my family, with Mike, with my friends, with my agents, and on my own. I want to see what happens, when I really throw myself into this passion…
And so I said no to the job with the steady income and said yes to pursuing my passion. Is it easy? Not for a second. Do I sometimes wonder if I am making the right choice? Almost daily. Do I love it? Absolutely.
And best of all, I’m able to do it from home, with my adorable doggo at my feet.